Monday Profile: Lloyd E. Powell

Washtenaw County Public Defender Lloyd E. Powell has held that title for 33 years. Before that, he served as a trial attorney for the prosecution and public defense, as well as a criminal defense trial attorney in private practice. And that followed a military career in law enforcement that included service in Europe and Asia, and a promotion to Chief of Investigations for the Office of Provost Marshall at U.S. Army Headquarters in Seoul, Korea.

A graduate of Wayne State University Law School and Wayne State University Graduate School of Business, Powell has received many awards over the course of more than 50 years of public service.

He is the chief public defender and director of a high volume county governmental law firm comprised of 15 fulltime trial attorneys, 18 volunteer attorneys, and about 90 of what he considers the best and brightest student trial lawyers and investigators from law schools around the country.

Residence: Ann Arbor.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being actively involved in purposeful work that protects and benefits humankind by righting wrongs, relieving suffering, achieving justice, and providing youth with opportunities for successful growth.

What is your greatest fear? Misunderstanding or being misunderstood.

Which living person do you most admire? Nelson Mandela.

What is the trait you hate most in yourself? Not suffering fools gladly.

What is the trait you hate most in others? Deceitfulness--especially when it results in unethical and dishonest professional conduct that does harm to others.

If you suddenly had an extra room in your house, what would you do with it? More exercise equipment, and a larger library.

What was your most memorable meal? The most recent one shared with a friend, and those prepared by my mother for family and friends during the holidays.

If you could take back one thing you did... I would never have purchased the automobile that was always breaking down.

What is your most treasured material possession? My Nordic track.

If you could do one thing professionally... I would provide a more equitable distribution of needed resources nationwide to all major components of our criminal justice system--especially the usually underfunded defense component.

What are your favorite websites? All that relate to our legal profession.

What were your proudest moments as a lawyer? Our many successes over the years in achieving justice as a competent, dedicated and highly motivated professional team, and my personal successes toward that end as a trial lawyer.

It's 7 a.m. Monday. How are you feeling? Enthusiastically looking forward to another productive day and already at work, or on the way after an hour of aerobic exercises.

What would surprise people about your job? The hard but satisfying work involved in carefully covering all required bases in order to provide top quality professional service with the utmost competency and cost effectiveness.

Introvert or extrovert? Both--depending on circumstances. But primarily an extrovert.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Self-pride - when there is a proclivity to devolve into arrogance, egotism and megalomania.

When and where were you happiest? Now and here!

What's your greatest achievement: My current ''world class'' work team after many years of public service in the military, law enforcement and our legal profession.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self? Continue to work hard, keep focused and stay on course.

What would be your ideal job? The one I have now and have held for the past 33 years.

What one thing do you wish people knew about your work? That our ''world class'' professional team can always be relied upon to provide top quality legal representation and that we derive great fulfillment in doing so.

Favorite joke: "Listen to Lloyd because when they wrote the Constitution and ratified it, Lloyd was there!" --Brian Mackie.

What is something most people don't know about you? My deep religious conviction as a Christian and my devotion to our country--imperfections notwithstanding.

What do you wish more people understood? That the major components of our criminal justice system (the police, the prosecution, the defense, the courts and corrections) are all inter-related, and if the system is to continue to function as it should in the quest for justice, there has to be a more equitable and balanced distribution of resources to avoid the cultural tendency nationally to under-fund the defense component.

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? My mother, father and sister--with Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall as alternates.

Who is your favorite character of fiction? Perry Mason starring Raymond Burr.

Favorite words: "Promise yourself to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble." --The Optimist's Creed.

Favorite movie: "To Kill a Mockingbird."

What's one thing you can do now that you couldn't do 20 years ago? Rely on my current transportation (hybrid SUV), which has been almost perfect for the past seven years.

Favorite place to spend money: Amazon.com.

What is your motto? Think, expect and work only for the best.

Where would you like to be when you're 90? Still healthy, productive and at the top of my game!

Published: Mon, Jan 7, 2013

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